I appreciate the comprehensive answer. I should have mentioned that I am indeed going with a low-hit-point system, so you didn’t get the impression that I was worried about rolling a 1 for damage when my character has 80 HP. I’m using a range of hit points between probably 15 and 25 for humanoids, and the big monsters are scaled back too. But you covered all the bases in your answer, so no matter.
I also appreciate the summary of the Artful Strike. I’ve already made a summary of the onset and melee rules for my own use, and compared your post to what I already have (a reworded explanation from what is in the rulebook never hurts), and it looks like I had it wrong before – I thought you needed to use at least two martial dice in your attack to qualify for an artful strike, based on “multi-dice attack” in this line in the rules: “Any time you make a multi-dice attack and get a hit, and the result of the modified roll is over 20, you can add one extra damage dice based on your attack type”
The Codex rules are one of my favorite RPG supplements. If I was running a medieval-type setting, I’d probably end up using everything the rules have to offer. As it is, though, I’m using whatever I can for my fantasy neolithic/bronze-age setting.